Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel


I enjoy a good apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic novel, and I love literary fiction. Station Eleven gave me both. A flu pandemic wipes out 99% of the world’s population. Civilization collapses, the survivors do what they can to survive and rebuild. But merely survival is not enough for The Traveling Symphony, a troupe of musicians and actors who go from outpost to outpost performing Shakespeare. The storyline twists and veers in a non-linear fashion, jumping back and forth in time: before, during, and up to twenty years after the pandemic. What I found most satisfying was the descriptive world-building, including how people reacted to this new world; how they interacted, how they felt:

“[They were] furious because fury was the last defense against understanding what the news stations were reporting. Beneath the fury was something literally unspeakable, the television news carrying an implication that no one could yet bring themselves to consider.”

What some of my favorite bloggers had to say about Station Eleven:

April at The Steadfast Reader: “It’s like a beautifully crafted jigsaw puzzle that you put together in your head, seeing where each character fits.”

Katie at Words for Worms: “This book is an excellent, thought provoking read that will leave you pondering civilization, spirituality, and hand sanitizer.”

Catherine at The Gilmore Guide to Books: “Where Mandel excels is in the little things that might not occur to anyone thinking about the apocalypse. . .Station Eleven is powerful because of its realism.”

If you’ve read the book, hop over to River City Reading and join the conversation in the comments. Shannon poses some great discussion questions!